Years ago one of my first ever ‘grown up’ jobs was in a spice factory!
Having recently returned from travelling around Europe and feeling this a temporary option until I succumbed again to my insatiable wanderlust – I was destined to remain trapped there for 18 months! – I consoled myself with a half decent weekly pay packet and a mad social life with others of a similar age – 19!! More like a festering hot pot of lust, despair and endless, pointless banter at least it still makes me smile to this day when I recall our antics amongst those equally endless racks of strong smelling exotic spices . Nothing more erotic than some harmless flirting and giggly gossip compounded with the weeks end of club night after which no one came in on the Thursday to nurse their hangovers instead choosing weekend overtime! There we were the flotsam and jetsam of the local society biding our time until more promising pastures loomed! Treating our day jobs we DO want to give up like appendages to our social activities.
So,no, I wouldn’t look back on it as the most successful period of my life especially after my European sojourn from the tender age of 17 – I thought I had already ‘escaped’ !
In essence our intimate group of spice packers were like the spices themselves! Hot and peppery personalities mixed with blander but essentially useful types; a real plethora of society none of whom in my somewhat hazy recall wanted to do much more than get their personal 8 – 4 shift done and dusted and head home until the daily Groundhog bellowed once more.
And so we trudged along – intermittent ‘dramas’ punctuating our little lives such as the skinniest yet fastest and most heaviest lifting picker gloriously giving birth amongst the racking without a hint of foreshadowing!! Nothing else really topped that mind boggling event but it gave us fodder for months to come…
Inside I was bloody screaming !!
I often wonder at those times, that era, those little lives now – some of which I feel sure have already been sadly rounded with a sleep….the factory still lives on – are some of them still insanely incarcerated within ? Did any get released to live their dreams? To actually live their lives for god sake!
Sadly, some never even touched on my perspective, willing, others often even eager, to toil mercilessly on ad infinitum….
I questioned their ‘caged’ minds as they questioned my ‘free spirit’
I was one of the lucky ones! Self fortuitous because as the internal screaming intensified survival instinct cut in and like a hastily picked, dropped and broken spice jar that lay with its contents strewn across the picking aisles for all to see, my panic and bile at this Is This All There Is??? existence spew forth one day mid staff meeting. My sorry arse was never seen gracing that clocking in machine again!
But I’ve never forgotten, you know?
Even if that is a self deterrent to repeat such folly in life – I am well aware that the idealistic nineteen year old me laid the base there – like the intangible mix of well chosen spices that add flavour and punch to a dish of delight I have lived my life since deliberately mixing things up.
If anything that early ‘mis’ choice, that wrong turning, laid a pure foundation for me of what I oh so didn’t want in my future.
Turmeric. That’s me .
Strong. Bright. Flavoursome. Pungent. Not to everybody’s taste I won’t deny.
But undeniably present.
Escaping their Eternal RatRace…..